22. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Morocco 0

A memorandum from Komer to the President, October 27, warned that King Hassan was very unhappy with U.S. stalling on his appeal for military aid, but noted that U.S. officials were going to urge the Moroccans toward negotiations, lest what they feared—a real contest between regimes—actually came to pass. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Morocco, 10/63)

1078. Please deliver following message soonest to King Hassan:

“Your Majesty:

I have watched with deep concern the growing split between Morocco and Algeria. Ambassador Ferguson and Col. Canton have relayed to me Your Majesty’s apprehensions over the meaning and direction of this conflict.1

The crucial fact is that this conflict has not yet come irrevocably to the point of a contest between competing systems, though this might well eventuate, with all its grave consequences, if present moves toward reconciliation fail. So it seems most important that you forestall the [Page 28] development of such a contest by seeking quickly a solution through negotiation rather than war.

I welcome Your Majesty’s decision to attend the meeting at Bamako.2 I am expressing to the principals at this meeting my hope that agreement can be reached on an honorable basis for ending the fighting and on some means for resolving the issues involved.

By doing everything possible toward bringing about a settlement, it seems to me Your Majesty’s position before the world will be made clear and the risk of grave threats to your Kingdom will be reduced.

John F. Kennedy3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 15-1 MOR. Secret; Immediate; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Newsom, cleared by Getsinger and Tasca, Bundy (White House), and approved by Ball as Acting Secretary of State.
  2. On October 27, the Department received a message from King Hassan through Colonel Canton. The King told Canton that it was now clear that his fears regarding the threat of foreign intervention had been correct and that the present border strife had been created by Ben Bella, aided and guided by Nasser, to serve as an excuse for his real objective, the destruction of the Moroccan monarchy. He repeated his plea for U.S. military aid, saying it could be channeled secretly through Spain, which had offered to help. The King said he desired a peaceful solution to this crisis, but felt that Nasser and Ben Bella would not honor any such solutions. (Telegram P 262315Z from COMNAVACTS Port Lyautey to the Secretary of State; Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 71 D 370, Morocco)
  3. Through the mediation efforts of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia and President Modibo Keita of Mali, President Ben Bella and King Hassan II had agreed to meet at Bamako, Mali.
  4. On October 28, Ferguson delivered the President’s letter to the King and expressed U.S. satisfaction that the Bamako meeting was being held. At the end of the audience, the King asked him to tell President Kennedy that Morocco was now asking only for economic aid and for U.S. non-interference with military assistance from other Western countries, which was needed to restore equilibrium. (Telegram 747 from Rabat, October 28; Department of State, Central Files, POL 32-1 ALG-MOR)